L.A. streetcar doesn’t get federal funding, at least not yet

The Seattle streetcar. Photo by Jeff Wilcox, via Flickr. Click above to see the photo at Flickr.

I just wanted to catch up on one piece of news from last week that I thought was worth highlighting: the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a new round of funding for small transportation projects and the effort to build a streetcar for downtown Los Angeles didn’t make the cut.

As Eric Richardson points out at blodowntown, the six projects that received money (five were for streetcars and one was a bus lane) were farther along in the planning process. It’s also worth noting there were 65 applicants — so most everyone lost out. Here’s USDOT’s list of projects that got money.

I think this will be an interesting process going forward, particularly from a federal funding perspective. The streetcar effort is looking at two potential routes, the aim being to connect the Civic Center and Disney Hall part of downtown to a reinvigorated Broadway, L.A. Live and South Park. The streetcar is seen as a good pedestrian enhancement — something that’s very easy for people to hop on and off for mostly shorter trips.

What I suspect may be tricky is that the streetcar is seeking federal money the same time that the Downtown Regional Connector and Westside Subway Extension are also looking for federal money — and talks over that money are in the ‘very serious’ stage. The streetcar money would come from a different pool of money. While these are three projects that, in my view, could complement one another very well, the fact is they share some common geography and it remains to be seen whether that pleases the feds or not.

Categories: Projects